Washougal — School districts and community agencies are working together to support the youngest learners, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. The grant supports the Washougal, Stevenson-Carson and Kelso communities by promoting collaboration between the preschool and kindergarten years. Educational Service District 112 is the fiscal agent leading the project.
In the Stevenson-Carson area, more than 10 agencies have formed a School Readiness Team to raise awareness of the value of preschool in the transition to kindergarten and to connect early learning agencies and providers.
A team in Washougal is developing a list of what kindergarten teachers expect children to know when they walk in the door and to help preschool providers prepare children for kindergarten. Team members agree that students entering kindergarten should meet certain social and emotional characteristics such as being able to be part of a group and listen, as well as ready to learn.
Children who have access to high-quality early learning programs are 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school, 50 percent less likely to require special education, 50 percent less likely to become teen parents and 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime before the age of 18, according to research from the First Five Years Fund.